I have anxiety and panic attacks. When I started blogging it was a great way to escape, to create a world in which everything was happy and positive. The way I so desperately wanted to be, the way I try to make it. On the outside at least.
No I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not looking for ‘it will be okay’ ‘it will get better’, or any sort of attention on the matter. I just want to write about it. Selfishly in hopes it may somehow help me but also in hopes it may help someone else. If only for them to know they’re not alone.
I have rebranded this blog as I feel it is more true to myself, I want a space where I can write no matter what the topic. So here goes….
Everyone experiences panic attacks differently, this is what it’s like for me. If it’s not exactly the same for you that doesn’t mean you’re not suffering from them. Check out the Ministry of Health website for information if you or someone you know may be experiencing panic attacks or extreme anxiety.
Panic attacks are a horrible cycle of thoughts and REAL symptoms. For some reason or none whatsoever your body goes into fight or flight mode. It senses immediate danger, whether it is there or not is not the point.
What it feels like: an invisible hand is squeezing at your throat and you have to fight to get air in. This leads to shallow breathing and lack of oxygen through the body. Your heart pounds so hard (I feel like it might stop at any moment), your extremities go tingly like pins and needles. I get them worse in my hands and face. I feel light headed and dizzy like I may pass out.
Mix in with this a tornado of thoughts whirling through your head. For me I usually have the need to escape, get out or away from what ever situation I’m in. My brain fights between telling myself to breathe deeply and I CAN’T BREATHE! I feel I’m going crazy, that it will never stop, everyone is looking at me and I am such an idiot. All lovely little tricks your mind plays on you.
Good news is they DO stop and you WILL calm down. If you can tell yourself anything in that panicked state tell yourself that. If they are reoccurring or you’re concerned go see your doctor to get help and advice. You will be surprised how many people suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. You’re not alone, you’re not an idiot, you’re not weak, you’re not going crazy and it is not ‘all in your head’.
Panic attacks are both physically and emotionally draining! When I come down from a panic attack I often get a horrible headache and extreme exhaustion, this can last anywhere from a few hours to days later. Your body goes through extreme stress so don’t force yourself to do things because you think you ‘should’ be able to. Be kind to yourself, take time to relax and recoup!
Remember you’re not alone, and the panic will stop.
New Zealand Help Lines:
The Depression Helpline (0800 111 757)
Healthline (0800 611 116)
Lifeline (0800 543 354)
Samaritans (0800 726 666)
Youthline (0800 376 633)
Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797)
In an emergency call 111